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Rosicrucian order and the Catholic church teachings
Question from Mary Hahn on 10/2/2005:

Dear Dr. Bunson,

I'm an avid ETWN viewer and supporter who recently received an unsolicited postcard in the mail inviting me to learn more about the Rosicrucian teachings which date back to the "Mystery Schools of Ancient Egypt" as the postcard purports. However, I need to learn more from other authoritative sources including the Catholic church on what their opinion is regarding these ancient teachings and this organization, in particular. For this reason, I'm hoping you might provide me with information on the history of the Rosicrucian order AMORC and its relationship to the Catholic Church.

In another website, Rosicrucian order is said to help a person tap into ancient knowledge that will help strengthen a person's belief system whether they are Christian, Muslim or Buddist or belong to some other theocratic belief system. I'm suspicious that the "ancient knowledge" they claim they have access to is sound and safe from a Christian perspective.

Any information concerning the history of the Rosicrucian order and its relationship to the Catholic Church as well as the Church's opinion concerning any Rosicrucian teachings is greatly appreciated.

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 10/10/2005:

The Rosicrucians are an obscure occult organization that still technically exists, although to what extent any modern version is connected to the medieval manifestations of Rosicrucian thought is a matter of debate. The Rosicrucians (A.M.O.R.C., Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis) were supposedly established in the 15th century by a German mystic named Christian Rosenkreuz. They claimed to practice alchemy, thaumaturgy, and other occult arts through the attainment of secret knowledge and mastery of arcane rituals. They were also supposedly affiliated with another famous secret order, the Great White Brotherhood.

Suffice to say, the Rosicrucians are definitely not a Catholic organization, and one should not be confused into thinking they somehow they might be by the traditional symbol of the group, a rose in the center of a cross. In its recent document on the New Age movement, the experts of the Vatican who studied such movements in depth concluded of the Rosicrucians: “these are Western occult groups involved in alchemy, astrology, Theosophy and kabbalistic interpretations of scripture. The Rosicrucian Fellowship contributed to the revival of astrology in the 20th century, and the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC) linked success with a presumed ability to materialise mental images of health, riches and happiness.”

The New Age document Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the “New Age” issued by the Pontifical Council of Culture and other departments of the Curia in Rome helps to contextualize astrology within the wider social and cultural phenomenon of the New Age. The rise of New Age movement in modern times is seen as a symptom of the broader social concerns of superstition, syncretism, and Eastern mysticism grafted onto western concepts of personal enlightenment. The document notes: “The appeal of New Age religiosity cannot be underestimated. When the understanding of the content of Christian faith is weak, some mistakenly hold that the Christian religion does not inspire a profound spirituality and so they seek elsewhere . . . When one examines many New Age traditions, it soon becomes clear that there is, in fact, little in the New Age that is new. The name seems to have gained currency through Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, at the time of the French and American Revolutions, but the reality it denotes is a contemporary variant of Western esotericism. This dates back to Gnostic groups which grew up in the early days of Christianity, and gained momentum at the time of the Reformation in Europe. It has grown in parallel with scientific world-views, and acquired a rational justification through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It has involved a progressive rejection of a personal God and a focus on other entities which would often figure as intermediaries between God and humanity in traditional Christianity, with more and more original adaptations of these or additional ones. A powerful trend in modern Western culture which has given space to New Age ideas is the general acceptance of Darwinist evolutionary theory; this, alongside a focus on hidden spiritual powers or forces in nature, has been the backbone of much of what is now recognised as New Age theory. Basically, New Age has found a remarkable level of acceptance because the world-view on which it was based was already widely accepted. The ground was well prepared by the growth and spread of relativism, along with an antipathy or indifference towards the Christian faith.

You might wish to read the entire document on the New Age Movementat: http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PCCPCIDA.HTM

I would suggest also reading Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s book Catholics and the New Age.



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